Moroccan orange & cardamom cake

Moroccan orange & cardamom cake

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(18 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 2 hrs, 5 mins

More effort

Serves 10 - 12

Replace sugar with xylitol and swap butter and oil for a puréed whole orange in this light and zesty cake, with ground almonds and polenta

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving (12)

  • kcal257
  • fat26g
  • saturates3g
  • carbs2g
  • sugars9g
  • fibre1g
  • protein13g
  • salt0.3g
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  • 2 oranges, scrubbed



    One of the best-known citrus fruits, oranges aren't necessarily orange - some varieties are…

  • seeds of 6 green cardamom pods, crushed
  • 225g pack xylitol (we used Total Sweet)


    Xylitol is an all-natural alternative to sugar. The substance derives from the fibres of plants…

  • 6 large eggs



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition packed with protein and a…

  • 200g pack ground almonds
  • 50g polenta



    An Italian storecupboard staple, polenta has its roots in the peasant cuisine of northern Italy…

  • 25g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
    Baking powder

    Baking powder

    bay-king pow-dah

    Baking powder is a raising agent that is commonly used in cake-making. It is made from an alkali…

  • 1 tbsp flaked almonds
  • Greek yogurt or cream, to serve


  1. Put the whole oranges in a pan, cover with water and boil, covered, for 1 hr until a knife easily pierces them. If the oranges won’t stay under the water, place a small saucepan lid directly on top to keep them submerged. Remove the oranges from the water and cool, then quarter and remove any seeds and obvious pith where the stalk was. Blitz the oranges to a rough purée with a hand blender or in a food processor and put in a large bowl.

  2. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3 and line the base and sides of a 21cm loose-bottomed cake tin with baking parchment. Beat the cardamom, xylitol and eggs into the orange purée, then mix the ground almonds with the polenta, flour and baking powder, and fold in until well blended. Scrape the mixture into the tin, level the top and bake for 40 mins.

  3. After 40 minutes, scatter over the almonds, quickly return to the oven and bake 20-25 mins more until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the tin and leave to cool. Serve sliced as a cake, or with Greek yogurt or cream as a dessert.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Kay Gutteridge's picture
Kay Gutteridge
7th Jul, 2020
Not sure what kind of oranges other people are using in this but I did not find the orange flavour intense at all. In fact I found it really subtle. The cardomon amount stated in the recipe was just right. I used sugar instead of sweetener and semolina instead of polenta as others have advised. Was cooked through perfectly using the timings in the recipe.
GemJan's picture
23rd May, 2020
I didnt have polenta so used semolina and it was fine. The bottom of this cake is always slightly soggy but I take it out of the tin after cooling a bit and let it dry and cool on a rack. Definitely use the microwave for the oranges too. Lovey cake to serve for a diabetic alongside creme fraiche. I mix a xylitol syrup flavoured with orange blossom water (1:1 ratio of xylitol to water) through the creme fraiche and it really elevates it.
Geof Edwards's picture
Geof Edwards
9th May, 2020
Like others I raised the number of cardamom, I used 14 pods. Also not by choice (I didn't have any polenta) I used semolina flour. And it came out light and moist. I microwaved the oranges for 5 mins at 900w rather than boiling, they blitzed up perfectly
13th Oct, 2018
Really moist cake perfect as a desert. A dairy-based accompaniment helps offset the bitterness of the orange. I made this whilst on holiday and had to chop up the orange with a knife because I didn’t have a food processor handy – the tough skins were no match for the hand mixer (with whisk attachments) or a stick blender I had available. I used freshly-opened cardamom pods and certainly wouldn’t want to use more than stated in the recipe.
25th Sep, 2018
Lovely cake - moist and very tasty. Made it twice. The second time I used 10 cardamom pods as you couldn’t taste the amount in the recipe, but I’d potentially try using more to get more of the flavour! If the oranges have thick skin, I used less so it wasn’t overpowering as suggested in other reviews. Can’t tell it’s ‘healthier’ than other cakes.
16th Aug, 2018
Delightful cake, I modified it a little. I don't have Xylitol, I used a cup of Splenda. Also, I replaced self-raising flour with buckwheat flour but used 2.5tsp baking powder. Instead of mixing the cornmeal straight into the cake mix, I let it soak in the orange mush so it wouldn't be too gritty. I shall make it again
Brian McFarlane's picture
Brian McFarlane
10th Mar, 2018
Far too intense on the zest front for my palate, couldn’t taste the cardamom or almond... next time I would probably lose the peel of one orange before blitzing. Also orange sizes and weights vary so I measured 300g of puréed orange rather than shoving in the whole lot which seemed about right. The texture of the cake is amazing. Will make again with above slight adjustments.
Jugear27's picture
26th Feb, 2018
Delicious! Followed recipe using microwaved oranges. I microwaved and puréed the oranges the day before and popped in a sealed tub in the fridge ready to use the next day. It was light, moist and delicious. I did only use the seeds of 4 cardamom pods to avoid it being too fragrant. It was maramladey and yummy. I will definitely make this again.
5th Jan, 2018
Delicious cake, followed everyone's tips, I made the unhealthy version and replaced Xylitol with caster sugar, whisked the eggs and sugar together until thick and creamy, then folded in the other ingredients, but with only 1 tsp of baking powder, not 2 as recommended, made a slightly larger and lighter cake, scrummy!!
10th Sep, 2017
LOVED this cake. Was very wary of the method of cooking and blitzing the oranges but it turned out so well, I was pleasantly surprised. The perfect lower sugar treat :)


25th Mar, 2019
I love this recipe. It's delicious, satisfies my craving for cake, minimises calories, doesn't create a GI blood sugar-spike, and is dairy and gluten free. Extraordinary. Now a challenge - does anyone know of a chocolate cake recipe that meets the same criteria? It's the Holy Grail of 21st century cake baking... 1. Clearly no butter is permitted, but also no olive, sunflower, coconut or other oils or margarine. 2. Eggs are fine, and xylitol too. 3. I'm good with a light crumb-textured cake, but a denser, Italian-style almond cake texture is fine too. Polenta can be a significant grain in the mix, as can be any other gluten-free/minimal component. I've been hunting on the internet and nothing meets the requirements. Perhaps an expert on here can devise a workable variation of this cake...? Thanks!
goodfoodteam's picture
9th Nov, 2019
We're glad you're a fan of this cake. It's worth noting that this cake is only gluten-free if gluten-free self-raising flour is used. Unfortunately we don't have a cake on the site that meets all these criteria. However we do have a number of chocolate recipes that are both gluten and dairy-free. You can take a look at them here:
4th Oct, 2018
Not keen on Cardamon. Could I just leave it out or substitute it with vanilla?
naomibrook01's picture
4th Nov, 2019
If it still helps, yes I think you could! A pinch of fennel could be good
goodfoodteam's picture
12th Oct, 2018
Thanks for your question. Yes, you can leave it out.
22nd Feb, 2015
Can I just substitute the xylitol for sugar 1:1? Or do I need to adjust the other ingredients?
goodfoodteam's picture
12th Mar, 2018
Thanks for your question. Yes, it can be replaced 1:1. However this will change the nutritional values of the recipe. You can find out more about xylitol here: and here:
goodfoodteam's picture
2nd Mar, 2015
Hi Kestrel1608 thanks for your question. We haven't tested this recipe using sugar instead of xylitol so cannot guarantee perfect results but can see no reason why it wouldn't be fine to do so. And yes those proportions sound right - use 225g caster sugar instead of the xyliotol. Let us know how you get on. 
Brian McFarlane's picture
Brian McFarlane
10th Mar, 2018
I used caster sugar 1:1 and it was fine
GemJan's picture
23rd May, 2020
Use a 1:1 ratio of xylitol and water to make a syrup with a dash of orange blossom water and mix through creme fraiche for serving, delicious!
Will Hirsch's picture
Will Hirsch
1st Oct, 2018
This turned out great. Following recommendations in the comments I went with a few adjustments... - 10 cardamom pods rather than 6 - this was the perfect amount to my taste - Left out half an orange's rind - I wish I had left this in as it was not quite as zesty as I'd have liked. I guess your mileage will vary, probably mainly depending on the oranges. I think I overboiled the oranges a little, so maybe that was a factor, but for two "Waitrose large oranges" I'd throw the whole lot in on my next try. - Substituted caster sugar 1:1 for the Xylitol. Sorry, dentist!
28th Jan, 2015
In the Moroccan Orange and Cardomom cake recipe, it must be borne in mind that Xylitolcan have some unfortunate side effects. See Google.
29th Jan, 2015
I just want to use sugar and not xylitolcan,do I use the same amount?Thank you.
Mrs Tiggywinkle
21st Feb, 2015
Yes: :-)
28th Jan, 2015
Xylitol can have unfortunate side effects for humans too.
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